Stat Attack: Why Wests Tigers needed an overhaul
No club has been overhauled quite like the Wests Tigers, and the changes up front have been as stark as any heading into the 2018 Telstra Premiership.
Coming into their pack this season are big men with big profiles in Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Chris McQueen. Aaron Woods (Bulldogs) and Ava Seumanufagai (Sharks) headed in the opposite direction at the end of last season.
A quick glance at the Tigers yardage battles last year explains much of the movement, while the devil in the detail only further reveals their struggles in the middle in recent seasons.
From the Tigers round one forward pack and interchange rotation in 2017, only Chris Lawrence, Elijah Taylor and hooker Matt McIlwrick are likely to hang onto their starting spots, while Sauaso Sue can expect to jag a bench spot.
When it came to conceding metres last year, the Tigers ranked worst in the competition with 39,496m for the season at 1646m a game.
They fared better when it came to making their metres, but not by a hell of a lot, ranking 11th with 37,539m at 1564m each outing.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, two of their biggest contributors to that tally were James Tedesco (eighth most prolific in the NRL with 173m a game) and Woods (163m a game, the best by any prop).
For years Woods had been doing too much of the Tigers heavy lifting on his own, with Packer and Matulino brought in to bolster the prop stocks, along with the continued development of middle-men Alex Twal and Matt Eisenhuth.
And there's no hiding from just how much work is ahead of them given the Tigers' back-rowers - which included Taylor, Lawrence, Sue, Aloiai, Michael Chee Kam, Esan Marsters and Super League departees Kyle Lovett and Joel Edwards - contributed well below the NRL's average for their positions last year.